MANTACHIE • Walnut made quick work of Mantachie last Friday in the regular season finale. The Wildcats muscled their way to a 36-14 over the Mustangs to push their record to 9-2 as the first round of the playoffs sits on the horizon.
Walnut used their ground game, which has worked for them all year, to post 408 yards and four touchdowns out of their total of 454 yards and five scores.
The dynamic tandem of T.J. Colom and T.J. Luellen combined to lead the charge for Walnut. Colom put the Wildcats on the board first with a 10-yard touchdown run on their first drive for the 6-0 lead with 9:07 left in the first quarter.
Midway through the second, Luellen joined in with a nine-yard touchdown run. Quarterback Cade Hunt hit Colom for the two-point conversion, building a 14-0 lead with 4:13 left in the first half. After the Walnut forced a Mantachie punt, Luellen found the endzone again, this time on a 17-yard pass from Hunt. Senior R.G. Cabriana rushed in for the two-point conversion with 21 seconds left as the Wildcats took a 22-0 lead into the locker room.
The Mustangs responded with a 47-yard touchdown pass to start out the third quarter with the extra point being blocked by Blade Oaks. Oaks notched a team-high 13 tackles on the night.
With Mantachie on the board, Walnut answered with a five-play, 84-yard drive capped off by a one-yard touchdown run by Hunt for a 28-6 lead. The Wildcats' defense stood strong, forcing another punt and the offense added to their lead with a one-yard touchdown run by Landon Wilbanks. Luellen punched in the conversion attempt for the 36-6 lead with 4:11 left in the third.
Luellen led Walnut with 206 yards of offense with 191 yards coming on the ground and two total touchdowns. Colom was right behind him with 177 rushing yards and one score.
The Wildcats now sit just one win away from tying their school record for wins in a season. Walnut will have a chance to reach that mark this Friday as the Class 2A Playoffs begin with the Wildcats hosting Eupora in the first round matchup.
The Eagles (3-7, 2-2) finished their regular season two weeks ago with a 45-12 loss to East Webster on Thursday, Oct. 24. Eupora's offense is based around their run game with junior running back Tra McComb leading the way with 668 yards and eight touchdowns on the year. Defensively, the Eagles have given up 28.6 points per game in their 10 games versus stiff competition.
Kickoff between the Wildcats and Eagles is set for 7 p.m. this Friday.